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The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Dec 2014 back issue
Repton Boxing Club Bethnal Green, East End, London
by Damian Bird
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Repton Boys Boxing Club was founded in 1884 by Repton public school who wanted to provide a way of giving support and encouragement to the young men of one of London’s poorest communities.  Housed in a former Victorian bath house on Cheshire Street in the heart of East London, Repton is London’s oldest boxing gym and has witnessed the rise of champion boxers such as Maurice Hope, Billy Walker, and Audley Harrison, not to mention underworld figures such as "Mad" Frankie Fraser. At the age of 12, the actor Ray Winstone joined the club and, over the next 10 years, won 80 out of 88 bouts. He was London schoolboy champion on three occasions, fighting twice for England. "If you can get in a ring with 2,000 people watching and be smacked around by another guy, then walking onstage isn't hard." Perhaps some of Repton’s most infamous supporters were Ronnie and Reggie Kray.  Repton was where the twins learned to fight. They won numerous amateur boxing titles and at the age of 17, they turned professional.  The twins continued to support the boxing club as they became older through the donation of trophies and the purchasing of tickets to watch boxing matches. Today the club is as vibrant and dedicated as it ever was; the junior and senior boxing teams are amongst the best in the country.  It is now a registered charity and relies on donations to keep its doors open to the boys and men of Bethnal Green.
Shadow boxing for speed and agility.
Sparring practice in the Repton Boxing Club ring.
The Repton Boxing Club trainers work on every aspect of their fighters’ technique.
On the left a fighter can be seen in the mirror, head gear on, waiting to spar in the ring.  On the right is a view, through a doorway, of the club’s second ring, where another fighter is punching a trainer’s gloves.
The Repton Boxing Club’s head coach, Gary McCarthy casting his focused stare over two of his fighters sparring in the club’s main ring.
Fighters sparring under the scrutiny and instruction of Gary McCarthy.
Shadow boxing warm up.
Powerful right hook during sparring.
The fighters are always watched by their trainers during sparring sessions, so that advice can be given where necessary.
Sparring at the Repton Boxing Club is always intense.
After three hours of training, that the Repton fighters do three times a week, they are happy and relaxed.
Nothing is left to chance at the Repton Boxing Club and all elements of the art are taught.
Eyes close in reflex at the point of impact.
Warm down is as important as warm up as the Repton fighters near the end of 3 hours of intense and focused training.
Elbows in and protect the face.
Scrutiny, ringside as the fighters spar.
Whilst the fighters spar in the ring the other fighters either watch or shadow box in preparation for their turn.
Dedication and focus can be seen in the faces of both trainers and fighters at Repton Boxing Club.
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